Michael Larice is an Associate Professor of Urban Design and City Planning. Although he is an architect, city planner, and urban designer – he is primarily an urbanist. His professional and academic work focuses largely on the urban design of livable places – streets, housing, neighborhoods and cities. He takes a comparative approach in teaching and research to help better understand the various urbanisms and urban theories that operate concurrently across the country and around the world – how places overcome struggle, why they survive, and what makes them thrive. In his teaching he stresses the importance of contextual response and inter-disciplinary collaboration for the success of projects and their sustainability over time. Many of his urban design studios are partnered with clients trying to solve very real public realm and development problems; among these clients are the cities of Abu Dhabi – UAE, Oranjestad – Aruba, Philadelphia – Pennsylvania, and Vancouver – British Columbia. This pluralistic and pragmatic approach to design helps students to build skills, operationalize theory, and approximate the type of challenges they will find in their professional lives after graduation.
Professor Larice’s previous research looked at dense urban neighborhoods, development approvals processes, and slum upgrading. He has several projects underway now, including: articles on indirect urban design practice; a history and theory of livability; and comparative neighborhood form. He is also working on a second edition of The Urban Design Reader with his co-editor Prof. Elizabeth Macdonald of UC Berkeley (forthcoming 2012). A very successful first edition was published by Routledge in 2006. It provides a collection of important historical and contemporary literature that describes and defines the field of urban design.
Professor Larice holds a PhD in City Planning from the University of California, Berkeley, where his dissertation work in urban design focused on the form and livability of high density neighborhoods. He holds a Master of Architecture and a Bachelor of Arts in Design from UCLA. Professor Larice is a California native, who has worked, lectured, and traveled extensively. He has taught urban design, city planning, comparative housing, and international development at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of British Columbia, and the University of California, Berkeley. In 2009, Professor Larice was awarded the G. Holmes Perkins Award for Distinguished Teaching at the University of Pennsylvania.